The cause of waking with stiff painless fingers in the morning isn’t always arthritis or disease.

This is for people who awaken with stiff but painless fingers that, within half a minute of fist clenching, are back to normal.

This can be prevented, depending on your case.

Though rheumatoid arthritis can cause stiffness in the fingers to develop overnight, causing you to awaken with this problem, let’s assume that your situation is not related to this disease.

Let’s instead assume that you have NO reason to believe you have any form of arthritis and even have a strong daytime grip, yet oddly, you awaken every morning with really stiff, tight fingers. And there is no pain or soreness.

And … in your case … making repeated though gentle fists quickly resolves the problem and you’re good to go.

I was having this problem and found a way to prevent the stiff morning fingers.

Since opening and closing the hand (making fists) relieved the problem for me within 20 seconds, I drew a conclusion.

Sleeping with my hands in a loose fist would prevent the situation from developing overnight in the first place.

I applied this prevention logic and it worked! I awakened minus the stiff fingers! It works 100 percent of the time.

I never had this problem at any other point in the day; only upon waking in the morning or when I’d come to in the middle of the night to relieve myself.

You now know the prevention for a benign situation of stiff painless fingers after sleeping.

But what causes this in someone who does not have a joint disease?

“Stiff fingers in the morning does not always point to arthritis,” says Walter Gaman, MD, FABFM, board certified in family medicine and the author of several award-winning books including “Age to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100, Happy, Healthy, and Wise.”

“It can be a symptom of overuse. The fingers may become inflamed from strain.

“During sleep or even during heavy exercise, the body may increase blood flow or fluids to the extremities.

“The stiffness may be the body trying to repair the micro-damage to the fingers. Once the body is up and moving, the stiffness may subside.”

I do exercises at the gym involving heavy gripping, such as the deadlift, farmer’s walk, kettlebell swing and various rowing-pulling movements.

However, if you don’t do heavy lifting but still get the stiff and painless fingers only after sleeping for a while (with your hand open), and it resolves almost immediately after closing your hand — then you should not worry about arthritis.

Dr. Gaman is with Executive Medicine of Texas and is with the Staying Young Radio Show 2.0 podcast.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
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